Editor, The News:
Re: Schools writing off penmanship (The News, March 28).
What will be lost when people no longer engage in writing, in haste or at leisure? Much more than I wish to express in this letter.
I cannot support my opinion with studies and statistics. However, during my lifetime of 67 years, when handwriting was an essential means of communicating personal ideas and thoughts, the act of writing by hand has both provided rich pleasures and varying degrees of frustration.
Learning to write legibly takes time, effort and practice to master, as does the act of reading. And, mastering skills adds to the pleasure trove of individuals, as well as providing a means of testing one’s ability to deal with frustration, failure and eventual success.
It’s a pleasure to witness a child’s ability to master what so many might dismiss as an obsolete skill.
Giving children the opportunity to savour the luxury of time taken to learn what they are able to do as physical as well as perceiving, reflecting and expressing human beings should be one of the goals of an educational curriculum.
Doing away with passing on of such basic skills as writing by hand is a manner of emphasizing the importance of product over process, and of unmindfully submitting to the idea of mechanized uniformity in attitude, behaviour and production.
Yes, new technologies supplant older ones; and with this, different ways of being, thinking and doing – often without adequate consideration of the consequent results of such newness and change.
Perhaps, it might be better to have a protracted and partisan examination and discussion of the pros and cons of cursive writing skill versus typing, or pointing and swiping before relegating this practice to the circular file of obsolescence.
Who has a calculator?
Editor, The News:
Re: Writing on wall (News Views, March 28).
“The writing is on the wall for cursive”– so witty and so true.
It’s about time people wised up to the uselessness of curricular minutia like cursive writing. And you can’t argue with this kind of infallible reasoning.
So in English, let’s scrap other less often used, less relevant skills, such as Shakespearean and all poetic analysis, satire, and spelling, along with cursive writing, for these are all obsolete and unnecessary challenges fore the developing mind (spelling, especially, since the introduction of spell check).
It’s obvious the only choice we have is to either teach our children a ‘dying art’ or allow them to personalize their learning by following their passions and interests.
Well, the choice is clear. Let my kids study cartooning and gaming, if they want to. Let them research ways to be more attractive to the opposite sex and learn about important celebrities, if they so choose. Only elitists promote a formulaic, prescribed, unifying, universal, cultural knowledge-base that might (in the case of cursive, anyway) challenge the brain, assist in spelling, develop memory and organizational skills (the way learning an instrument does – another waste of public funding), and sophisticate expression.
While we’re having this long overdue conversation, let’s scrap multiplication, subtraction, division, and addition – who doesn’t have a calculator these days?
Most of history and science aren’t worth learning about, either. Nearly none of it is needed in the modern, technologically ubiquitous world.
In fact, if we truly want to personalize learning, there shouldn’t be any core curriculum at all, for there’s nothing that everyone needs to know. Even reading seems like a dying skill with the emergence of technology that speaks written texts for you. It’s about time: learning to read well is too laborious.
Let the writing stay on the wall. I certainly don’t need it in my head.